John Kerry
John KerryReuters

During the Obama Administration, the US State Department prevented the FBI from arresting people connected to Iran's illicit nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, including "known terrorists," two Republican Senators said in a bombshell accusation.

Yesterday (Wednesday), Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis) presented unclassified emails from the FBI obtained from whistleblowers showing that the State Department blocked multiple arrests in 2015 and 2016 so as not to jeopardize the Joint Plan of Action, the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Senators wrote, “The records provided to our offices show that the Obama/Biden administration’s State Department, under the leadership of John Kerry, actively and persistently interfered with FBI operations pertaining to lawful arrests of known terrorists, members of Iranian proliferation networks, and other criminals providing material support for Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

They elaborated, "For example, unclassified FBI email records from August 25, 2017, detailed at least eight instances connected to the Iran deal where the 'FBI/DOJ/USG could have moved forward with the cases but the State Department chose to block them.' According to the records, in six of these instances, the FBI lost the opportunity to arrest the main subject. The email says that one of the lost main subjects was noted to be 'on the Terrorism Watch List” and another “returned to Iran.' The email further says that in another instance the State Department 'blocked [FBI’s] plan to arrest while the subject was mid-flight and the subject was forced to leave the US immediately upon arrival.' The email also provides that at least two targets were arrested only after 'State lifted their block…since the new [Trump] Administration took office.'"

Grassley and Johnson stated that "State’s actions, at the direction of former Secretary Kerry, endangered national security, hamstrung the FBI’s law enforcement efforts and counteracted our government’s stance against Iran."

In one email from, an FBI counterintelligence division agent wrote to another agent, “We are all beside ourselves on asking the field to stand down on a layup arrest. “However, as it stands right now we all have to sit back and wait until all the US and Iran negotiations resolve themselves."

"Our hands are tied," the agent lamented.

The Senators demanded records from the email archives of Kerry, CIA Director Bill Burns, Blinken, and other officials by June 4 as part of their investigation into the State Department's actions during this period.